Vineetha Punit is a medical scientist, who has combined her passion for English with her medical knowledge to create informative articles.
We are blessed with many hormones, each of which has its own unique role to play. There are hormones that help a woman menstruate and hormones that stop menstruation. Many of these hormones also, directly or indirectly, contribute to weight issues.
Most, if not all working youngsters will agree that weight loss is a dream come true. Some lucky people are born with extremely fast metabolism, which helps them to never gain an inch even after hogging everything under the sun. And then there is the vast majority of us, the underdogs, who gain weight just at the sight of someone else eating. It is for the second category that God has created dietitians. These are the blessed souls who make us eat lesser and lesser and promise us of the day when we can fit into our 5-year old dresses.
Eating less will surely melt away the weight. But what after all the weight is gone? Can we sustain such a minimalistic diet? In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO. Which is when we move into Phase 2 of our weight issues. Where the lost weight comes back with a vengeance. Then follows demotivation and then, binge-eating. If the weight is anyway going to stay, why not take it with a pinch of salt? Or better still, a tub of butterscotch ice-cream? Does that sound familiar?
What if we tell you that dieting need not be boring? What if we tell you that dieting will not lead to intense cravings for food? What if we tell you that dieting need not be an expensive affair? Most of you are going to tell me to go fly a plane. Well! The plane can wait.
We spoke to Vibha Hasija, Dietitian, about the effectiveness of diet in aiding weight loss. Ms. Vibha Hasija is Professor, Faculty of Dept. of Foods, Nutrition, and Dietetics, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai. She is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with 22 years of experience in the field of dietetics. She is also representative of the Mumbai Chapter of the Indian Dietetic Association and has trained many young professionals who now practise in different hospitals across Mumbai.
VineeWrites (henceforth referred to as VW): What is more important for successful weight loss? Diet or exercise?
Vibha Hasija (VH): Both have equal importance. While weight loss can be achieved by both individually, doing so creates a deficit in energy efficiency because we either would be eating less or expending more energy. But when both happen simultaneously — eating right thus creating a caloric deficit and exercising so that metabolism increases with muscle use, the effect is more holistic, sustainable, and powerful.
VW: Will skipping meals help me lose weight faster?
VH: Yes. It would. But temporarily. After a while, our amazing body turns miserly and slowly reduces the energy usage for various activities. We essentially end up spending lesser energy for the same activities, and our weight loss pace tapers off. Additionally, skipping meals may also lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can impact performance and could lead to deficits in nutrient intake. Always consult a professional nutritionist before embarking on any weight loss goal.
VW: Will losing weight the right way assist in managing medical issues? If yes, what medical issues can be managed/controlled with weight loss?
VH: The point here is achieving optimum weight — a measure that your nutritionist can decide.
Achieving optimal weight has huge preventive and therapeutic benefits for a wide spectrum of metabolic and lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid issues, liver diseases, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, and cancers.
VW: How much of weight loss per month is ideal and healthy?
VH: In most cases we look out for 2-3kgs of weight loss per month. It might be more in the initial periods because of loss of water. Weight loss more than that could also be achieved if medically indicated, with very strict monitoring of the patient.
VW: Can you bust 3 myths about dieting?
VH: There are many but if I need to stick to three then…
MYTH 1. Eating fat free is important.
FACT: Fats are important. Eating fat free can be dangerous because we need the right quality and quantity of fats for health.
MYTH 2. I just need to eat less.
FACT: You do need portion control but doing it without consulting a nutritionist might result in inadequate consumption of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), which may have deleterious long-term effects.
MYTH 3. Just taking a meal replacement is enough to aid sustained weight loss.
FACT: Weight loss is the result of eating right. It cannot be a success with only a single point of focus.
VW: If I am grossly overweight/obese, can I still expect to come to a healthy weight with the right dietary guidance?
VH: Absolutely. Sometimes the "ideal" weight may not be realised but a healthy weight can.
VW: How do I identify the correct dietitian for me?
VH: A nutritionist must have a qualification (preferably a post-graduation) from a good university. Having wide experience is of course a plus. Care has to be taken to avoid consultation with those who have done diplomas shorter than a year with less credibility.
VW: Should carbohydrates be completely avoided from our meals for more effective weight loss?
VH: Never. Nothing should be completely avoided. They should just be taken in the right amounts.
Complete avoidance could lead to serious metabolic issues
VW: How can I ensure I stick to my diet?
VH: Just like we stick to any life decisions. We need to remember the reasons to eat right. And that comes from the magic combination of will and mindset, support from family and friends, and a good nutritionist. We can write a book on this topic. For this, each of us has to find our own way. We need to hold on to the preciousness of our body.
VW: Can dieting also assist in weight gain for thin people?
VH: Yes. The right diet and nourishment can optimise weight and muscle and strength and fitness for all those who are over or underweight
VW: Any message to our readers?
VH: We need to understand how life will be with the correct weight and health as well as how inadequate life will seem with long term disease. We have to find our guiding lights who will help us achieve good health and fitness. We may have ups and downs in our journey to health — but that is OK because that is how life is. But we must never let go. Each nutritionist will share many strategies that will help. Ultimately, it is up to us.
Now that many of our queries have been answered, let us look at some interesting, scientifically proven facts about weight loss
- Did you know that during weight loss, 84 percent of the fat that is lost turns into carbon dioxide and leaves the body through the lungs, whereas the remaining 16 percent becomes water? This study was published in a special Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal in one of their 2014 editions. No wonder we sweat so much while we workout.
- An interesting read on the Mayo Clinic website published on March 28, 2018 says that because 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat is around 3500 calories, it's estimated that you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. Sweat!Sweat!
- Another stellar article was the one published in the Scientific American on May 15, 2006. This goes on to state that throughout most of their lives, females have a higher percentage of body fat than males. By 25 years of age, for example, healthy-weight women have almost twice the body fat that healthy-weight men have. It is more difficult to shed fat from the pelvis, buttocks and thighs.
- Being short on sleep can cause weight gain. Yes. WebMD has an article from the year 2016, which states exactly that. Owing to erratic work schedules and less attention to fitness, women tend to have sleep deficits very often. This is one of the major contributors to weight gain. So, to lose weight faster and keep it away, snooooze.
I do hope this article has helped clear many common doubts in women about dieting and weight loss. I thank our honourable dietitian, Ms.Vibha Hasija for taking time out from her busy schedule to answer our questions.
As for our readers, we have a special gift. Do share your detailed views on this article. The best 10 comments will be eligible for a 10% discount on their first weight loss consultation with Ms. Vibha Hasija via email.
If you liked reading this article, stay connected for our next article on Bariatrics. This is the medical field where weight corrections are done surgically for not just cosmetic reasons but also for those who are morbidly obese in order to improve their living conditions and for longevity.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Vineetha
Cijini Manoj from Kerala on April 07, 2020:
Wow well said vineetha..every point was there...nice way of writing...keep on writing dear..surely will be sharing your articles
Shubhra Sanag from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh on April 06, 2020:
Wow, really these were myths and busted all of them, one by one
Di, the presentation, the content, and the language all are fantastic.
Thank you for sharing valuable info.
Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on October 29, 2019:
Agreed. Sleep plays a very crucial role in weight management, and so does proper nutrition and exercise.
Swapnil Ghosh from Kolkata on October 28, 2019:
Thanks for presenting a dietician's perspective. We (including myself) usually tend to mismanage weight and many-a-times undertake a not-so-correct approach. So thanks for help.
Dr. Mahalakshmi Venkat on October 23, 2019:
Hi, well written one. I have a few suggestions
Indian dieticians need to focus more on our local traditional cuisines.
Secondly, weight is just a number. Focus must be on healthy diet, moderate exercise and spiritual well being.
Maybe your next article could touch on these points.
Good work Vini.
Vineetha (author) from NAVI MUMBAI on October 23, 2019:
Glad you like my writing style, Niks. Am honored. I shall indeed try to write an article about the link between sleep, diet and weight. Stay connected to be among the first to know when it gets published here. Cheers.
Vineetha (author) from NAVI MUMBAI on October 23, 2019:
Thanks for your comment, Amrita. You are right. Health isn't about staying slim. It is about maintaining the ideal weight and staying fit. Do stay connected for our next write-up on weight loss surgeries.
Vineetha (author) from NAVI MUMBAI on October 23, 2019:
Thanks Aurobindhan for your views on this article. Yes. Drastic weight loss, as is done by celebrities, is never recommended from the medical point of view. This is one of the reasons most celebrities have many health issues very early in their age. They also inject steroids and undergo many many surgeries, some for health reasons and some others for cosmetic requirements (Read more about that in my upcoming write up). All these take a bad toll on their overall health.
I shall surely try to write an article on weight gain for lean people. Am sure many would want to know about that aspect. Stay connected to be the first to know when it gets published. Cheers.
Radhika Das on October 22, 2019:
Very illuminating article. Thank you Vinee & Vibha for busting myths & giving valuable tips.
Shweta Kotian on October 22, 2019:
Very informative and well written article..Looking forward for more articles from you.
Vineetha (author) from NAVI MUMBAI on October 21, 2019:
Thanks, Halemane Muralikrishna for your comment. I do agree that lifestyle changes could be difficult. Yet, if you compare a lifestyle change versus a life full of illness, I guess our choice becomes easier. Cheers!
Rachna on October 21, 2019:
Superbly written vinee..have always been a fan of your writing
Liz Westwood from UK on October 21, 2019:
This is a very interesting and informative article. I especially like the question and answer presentation technique.
Riki on October 21, 2019:
Hi Vinee ,very well written and understandable from a layman's point of view
Natasha Tungare from India on October 21, 2019:
Wow! Such an informative article
Anita Kapoor on October 21, 2019:
Vineetha,.Very well expressed writeup. Very informative n motivational for those who really need to maintain good health following good food habits. Best wishes and keep on writing .
Divisha Peswani on October 21, 2019:
Very informative article on managing weight, very well written. The best part of your article is that you included a short interview of an expert dietician who addressed the common myths about weight loss too. Well done Vineetha, looking forward to reading more such informative articles from you
Niks from India on October 21, 2019:
A very great article explaining the balance between eating right and exercising. if you write an article explaining more about the relation between sleep and diet, it would be great. I like your writing style.
Vinita Amrit on October 20, 2019:
One of the finest informative pieces I have come across. Amazing...!!! Thank you for sharing such beautiful information with such ease. It will help many get health, not just slim but fit.
Aurobindhan S from Chennai on October 20, 2019:
Very informative article vineetha. And also i used to hear that actors for role they lose weight 8 kg within 10 days. It seems very drastic change. Doest it bring any side effect due to sudden loss of weight. Is it due to continuous exercise. As a lean guy, write an article how to gain weight if possible.
Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on October 20, 2019:
Hi Ms Vineetha, yor article is very useful for the fat people. But the lifestyle cause of the overweight can be changed only by changing it, which may not be possible for the moms. Their routine is to support others too. Anyway, it is an eye opener piece of article. Keep writing like this for the readers.